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SCOTUS Rules 8-1 for Republicans defending Voter ID Laws

by Paul Goldberg
SCOTUS Rules 8-1 for Republicans defending Voter ID Laws

The Supreme Court rules in an 8-1 decision that Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have a right to “intervene in litigation to defend a state voter-ID law.”

The NAACP is challenging the law, and the NC attorney general (a Democrat) is defending it.

In an 8-1 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that “North Carolina’s legislative leaders are entitled to intervene in this litigation.”

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice to dissent in the case.

Gorsuch wrote:

The legislative leaders seek to give voice to a different perspective. Their “primary objective” is not clarifying which law applies. They are not burdened by misgivings about the law’s wisdom. If allowed to intervene, the legislative leaders say, they will focus on defending the law vigorously on the merits without an eye to crosscutting administrative concerns. And, they add, the differences between their interest and the Board’s in this case demonstrate why state law empowers them to participate in litigation over the validity of state legislation — alive as it is to the possibility that different branches of government may seek to vindicate different and valuable state interests. Perhaps recognizing all this, the Fourth Circuit itself allowed the legislative leaders to intervene in the appeal from the District Court’s preliminary injunction ruling. The same result should follow here. [Emphasis added]

Through the General Assembly, the people of North Carolina have authorized the leaders of their legislature to defend duly enacted state statutes against constitutional challenge. Ordinarily, a federal court must respect that kind of sovereign choice, not assemble presumptions against it. Having satisfied the terms of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), North Carolina’s legislative leaders are entitled to intervene in this litigation. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is reversed. [Emphasis added]

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